I Have Vaccine Envy

Yesterday morning as I was casually browsing Reddit I saw a post about how a user had been a “busy beaver” booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments because the state had opened vaccines to those under 65 with comorbidities and K-12 teachers. The user mentioned how they’d been expecting this for weeks and had an alarm go off at 3:50AM. This whole post infuriated me for a whole host of reasons:

  • Every news report listed February 22nd as the date appointments would be opened for the next category, yet people were booking appointments at 3:50 on a Sunday morning.
  • The only way to access the vaccine portal for Oklahoma is to be emailed a link from the state health department. So the process is you pre-register and then they email you your sign-in link when your category is available. Yet someone in my household, who registered later, received their eligibility email before I did. Furthermore it seems the health department released slots in batches to avoid triggering spam filters. That’s sensible but also…why would you base your vaccine rollout on something that could be taken down by a spam filter?
  • Furthermore if you signed up yesterday with a new account you were automatically dumped into the portal and eligible to book appointments while people who’d signed up weeks ago still had not received their sign-in.
  • As has been seen around the country, securing access to the vaccine isn’t necessarily an issue of need but rather connections. I had never heard of the Vaccine Alerts website that will text you when new slots open. I also know someone directly who works in a pharmacy handling doses and they said the pharmacy adopted a policy not to check credentials, so people were coming in on a regular basis claiming to be health care workers.

Now I will acknowledge, getting doses in arms regardless of who they are or their reasons for getting the vaccine is an inherent good. The more people vaccinated in an area, the less hosts the virus has to spread. Furthermore, we’ve seen terrible results of means-testing vaccine qualifications that have slowed down roll outs in places like New York. So injecting people with vaccines, even if it’s not me, is an inherent good thing for me. Yet all of this is entirely infuriating to me.

Too much of the vaccine roll out is who you know, and what you know. If you don’t have the right connections, or the right knowledge, plus the time and energy, it’s seemingly difficult to get a shot. Am I saying I want Oklahoma to send me a shot right now in my office? Not really. But the opacity of it all is enough to drive someone crazy.

I’ve signed up for vaccine alerts and a few waitlists, other than that I don’t have the energy to play the game of tracking down a vaccine appointment in Altus and driving 3 hours to get the shot. Congratulations to anyone who gets vaccinated though.